Lincoln City Imptoons cartoonist Chris Wray

A cartoon artist who draws Lincoln City themed designs is raising thousands for charity in the city.

Chris Wray, creator of ‘Imptoons’, is a teacher by trade, but has been creating Lincoln City themed cartoon designs since 2016. He has now created a real audience amassing over 2,000 followers on Twitter/X and having a number of regular customers who collect his work.

Wray, 35, began the project from his dining table with his children.

He said: “It started probably about seven or eight years ago, it just sort of spiralled out of me just doing a bit of drawing at the kitchen table with my daughter. I was always into cartooning and drawing so I’d sit and do some with them.”

Chris then wondered if his Facebook followers would appreciate his fun designs and began posting them online.

“I just started sharing a few on social media and in some fanzines and people just seemed to really like them, and it took off a little bit,” he said.

Before long he had requests from people to draw more and continue to share his work. He said: “I just felt once I started it I just had to keep it going because it seemed to keep people entertained.”

Lincoln City Imptoons cartoonist Chris Wray
Chris Wray often sells his Imptoons cartoons at Lincoln City FC home games.

Then in 2020, when the world went into lockdown, Chris saw it as an opportunity to take ‘Imptoons’ to a bigger audience and do some good with the work he was creating.

He began his yearbook project, in which he creates a unique cartoon illustration for every single match in Lincoln City’s season before publishing it in May, to raise money for charity.

As humble as ever he was surprised at the reaction, saying: “People said if you were to put that out in print then I would buy it, and I never wanted to make money from it myself because it’s not my job I’m a teacher day-to-day so I started selling them and I’ve been able to put a bit of money back into the club and some money for local charities and good causes.”

Lincoln City Imptoons cartoonist Chris Wray
A look at Chris’ most-recent Imptoons yearbook.

His work has certainly not gone unnoticed, raising over £5,000 in the 2022/23 season alone.

Appreciating the good reception he’s had from Imps supporters has made Chris want to carry on creating his cartoons.

“Now I just feel like I can’t really stop it, and people at the end of every game say, what are you going to draw this week? So as long as people are interested in it I’m just going to try and keep it going really,” he said.

Chris, who has been going to watch his hometown Lincoln City for 30 years, feels lucky to have a connection to the football club he loves through something he produces.

Jokingly, he said: “Well don’t tell anyone this, but the real reason I do this is because it means I get to meet some of the players and spend a little bit of time behind the scenes.”

He added: “I’ve been a Lincoln fan all my life, I’ve been going consistently for over 25 years and to be fair the club have always taken it in the right spirit and been keen to get involved with it.”

Lincoln City Imptoons cartoonist Chris Wray
Chris Wray has been able to meet some of the Imps players over the years.

He occasionally visits the training ground to get some of the players to sign his work. However, he’s not sure what the players make of it.

He said: “I don’t know, I always just try and blend into the background. I think it must be a bit funny because if someone came into my classroom and said I’ve done a little drawing of you, I always have a laugh and a joke with them.”

He’s now working hard on his fifth annual yearbook, drawing every match ready for it to go on sale at the end of the season. Chris is proud that he remains an official club sponsor, meaning his logo is often behind the Lincoln stars as they wheel away in celebration.

On the pitch, Lincoln City are unbeaten in 13 games are knocking on the door of the play-offs, sitting just two points behind Oxford United. Chris, who was voted as the the Red Imps Community Trust’s fan of the year in 2020/21, is not ruling out the club’s play-off chances, but wants to stay level headed.

He said: “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we’re certainly looking up and not down. But, you never know do you.”

You can find Chris’ work on Twitter/X – @imptoons.